Celebrating 7 Years of TLT: 7 Years, 7 Books Giveaway
Seven years ago today, Teen Librarian Toolbox began. Throughout the past 7 years, I have been humbled, honored, proud and a lot of other amazingly positive things to be able to do this blog. Let me tell you about 7 of them, because it seems like 7 is the appropriate number.
1. Heather Booth, Amanda MacGregor, Robin Willis and Ally Watkins
These four women are fabulous librarians and youth advocates. They are talented writers and voracious readers. But they are more than that, they have turned out to be really, really good friends that I value. I turn to them for both professional and personal advice. I have stayed with Heather and Robin has stayed with me. We have presented together. We have supported each other through some really cruddy moments of our lives. I’m honored and blessed to not only know these women, but to get to work with them as peers and to call them my friends. Each has their strengths that they bring to this blog and our profession.
2. The #SVYALit Project
In 2014, we began trying to have a yearly focus for the blog that kind of was an undercurrent or theme for the year if you will. This all began out of a conversation with a variety of authors, including Christa Desir and Carrie Mesrobian. As a sexual assault survivor myself, it was an honor to be able to turn that horrific life experience into something positive to raise awareness and just talk about the issues surrounding sexual assault in the life of teens. We have talked with countless authors, discussed a ton of books, and spoken about conferences about the issues.
3. The #MHYALit Project
Several TLT members, including me, wrestle with mental health issues of some sort or another. Some of us parent children who wrestle with them. All of use have worked with youth who struggle with them. This was another project that allowed us all to take an issue we have a great passion for – mental health – and raise awareness and try and discuss the issues in the life of teens. Amanda MacGregor in particular has spoken at a lot of conferences on this issue. Our goal is to continue to raise awareness and erase the stigma.
4. Working with The Teen
I am a mom, and I adore my children. As The Teen has gotten older, she has collaborated a lot with me here at TLT. It has been very important to me and personally rewarding to be able to model to my daughters a strong, independent women building something from scratch and being successful at it. They have made a lot of personal sacrifices and watched all the work and effort I have put into this blog. And now, The Teen gets to work with me. She helps me review books, talks to me about what’s popular with teens, and more. I can’t thank you enough for helping this blog be successful so that I can teach my daughters about the strength and achievements of women in their chosen professions.
5. Being a Book Cheerleader
I’m not going to lie, I personally love reading YA. Over the years I have read 1,000s of YA books. In fact, I’ve been a YA librarian for 25 years this year and I stopped keeping track at some point, but I know that I have read over 5,000 YA books. And like most book readers, I love talking about those books and sharing my opinions. So it’s always fun to get to read books before they’republished, find those gems that I want to be a cheerleader for, and then just be an advocate for good or important YA books.
6. Photo Apps Galore
When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a ballerina, an oceanographer and a photographer. I took dance for many years, but I wasn’t really amazing at it and knew that it was not the profession for me. I don’t know what happened to oceanography, as I still love the ocean and everything about it. I never had the resources, however, to really try out photography. Doing this blog means I have to take pictures and talking about makerspaces on this blog means I have to have makerspace related content; this all means that I have an excuse to try a ton of photo apps. I love trying out the various photo apps and seeing what I can do creatively with the pictures that I take. I’m not going to lie, my home walls are full of pictures, primarily of my kids, but also of “art” that I have created that usually starts with a photo I’ve taken using one of the various photo apps that I review here at TLT. I have seriously tried out a ton of photo apps, and it has been fun.
My journey here at TLT has made the world so much bigger for me. I’ve met a huge variety of authors and librarians and bloggers and readers and teens. It has been an honor to meet each and every person. It has expanded my world view, made my heart grow bigger, and taught me so much about privilege and empathy and compassion and being a better citizen. Thank each and every one of you for this honor and privilege!
So here we are at 7 years. Everyone here at TLT wants to keep moving forward and doing the work. If you feel so inclined, please leave a message telling us something you like about TLT so that we have an idea of what we should keep doing moving forward. We’re giving away 7 Books for 7 Years to one TLT reader. This one is open Internationally because we value each and every one of you. Do the Rafflecopter thingy by Friday, June 15th at Midnight to be entered to win!
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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